Justia Delaware Court of Chancery Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Intellectual Property
Ross v. Institutional Longevity Assets LLC
In this dispute regarding the commercialization of a patent covering a method for pooling insurance policies the Court of Chancery granted Defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings in which they argued that they did not owe any of the contractual or fiduciary obligations that Plaintiff sought to enforce, holding that Defendants were entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Plaintiff brought this action asserting claims for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duties related to Defendants’ business development of a patent-holding entity and Defendants’ failure to provide certain information to Plaintiff. The Court of Chancery granted Defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings, thus mooting Plaintiff’s motion to compel and motion for default judgment, holding That Defendants carried their burden to show that Plaintiff could prove no set of facts in support of his claims that would entitle him to relief and that Defendants were entitled to judgment as a matter of law. View "Ross v. Institutional Longevity Assets LLC" on Justia Law
LG Elecs., Inc. v. Interdigital Commc’ns, Inc.
Defendants, collectively referred to as “InterDigital,” and LG Electronics, Inc. entered into a non-disclosure agreement, titled “Agreement Governing Confidential Settlement Communications (the NDA), after LG filed a demand for arbitration with the International Centre for Dispute Resolution. InterDigital claimed that the parties did not intend to prevent the submission of pre-NDA evidence to the arbitral tribunal and disclosed in its brief to the tribunal alleged settlement communications. LG then filed this action seeking injunctive relief compelling InterDigital to withdraw its brief, claiming that InterDigital breached the NDA by submitting the documents to the arbitrators. InterDigital moved to dismiss LG’s complaint in favor of arbitration, asking the Court of Chancery to exercise its discretion under the doctrine established in McWane Cast Iron Pipe Corp. v. McDowell-Wellman Engineering Co. to dismiss the action in favor of the earlier-filed arbitral proceeding. The Court of Chancery dismissed the action in favor of the earlier-filed arbitral proceeding under the McWane doctrine, concluding that this case met the McWane doctrine’s requirements. View "LG Elecs., Inc. v. Interdigital Commc’ns, Inc." on Justia Law
Petroplast Petrofisa Plasticos S.A. v. Ameron Int’l Corp.
This action arose from a technology-sharing relationship between companies engaged in the manufacture of industrial "sand-core" pipe for water and sewer applications. In 2002, the parties entered into an agreement whereby Plaintiffs agreed to provide Defendant with their technology for more efficient manufacturing sand-core pipe in exchange for data, reports, software, and other information developed by Defendant through use of Plaintiffs' process. Over time, the relationship between the parties disintegrated. As a result, in 2009, Plaintiffs brought this action asserting breach of contract and other causes of action related to Defendant's alleged nonperformance under their agreement. The Chancery Court dismissed Plaintiffs' claims for breach of contract, as well as claims under California Uniform Trade Secrets Act and for common law misappropriation, finding the claims were barred by laches. View "Petroplast Petrofisa Plasticos S.A. v. Ameron Int'l Corp." on Justia Law
Encite, LLC v. Soni, et al.
This case involved a claim for breach of the fiduciary duty of loyalty that stemmed from a dispute regarding assets of IFCT, a now defunct tech startup company founded by Stephen Marsh to develop potentially revolutionary micro fuel cell technology. The crux of plaintiff's argument was that the Director Defendants conducted an unfair and disloyal bidding process, whereby they favored the Echelon-backed bid and refused to follow up on or negotiate with other superior bids. As a result, IFCT missed its chance to sell its assets at the peak of their value and was forced to sell its assets at a discount in bankruptcy. Given that the Director Defendants have conceded the applicability of entire fairness review and given the fact-intensive nature of that review, the court found that the Director Defendants have not met their burden at this stage to achieve summary judgment against Encite. The court also found that material facts remained as to the liability of Echelon for aiding and abetting the alleged breach of fiduciary duty by the Director Defendants and therefore, the court denied Echelon's motion for summary judgment on that claim. The court finally found that material facts also remained regarding Echelon's third party claims, and so denied Marsh's motion for summary judgment. View "Encite, LLC v. Soni, et al." on Justia Law
Posted in: Bankruptcy, Business Law, Corporate Compliance, Delaware Court of Chancery, Intellectual Property, Professional Malpractice & Ethics
Phillips v. Hove, et al.
This post-trial opinion determined the voting membership of GnB, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company. The parties disputed whether Firehouse Gallery, LLC, a Florida limited liability company, was a voting member of GnB. The parties also disputed whether GnB possessed an exclusive license to use the first-tier, generic domain name candles.com; held an option to purchase candles.com; and owned other assorted domain names relating to the candles business. The court held that Firehouse and plaintiff, who controlled GnB, each held a 50% voting membership interest; GnB owned the exclusive license and option to purchase candles.com and the other domain names; and plaintiff and defendant, the current principal of Firehouse, each breached their fiduciary duty of loyalty to GnB and must account for the profits and personal benefits they received. The court held that defendant was not otherwise liable to GnB or plaintiff. Because all of the litigants engaged in misconduct that could support fee-shifting, the doctrine of unclean hands applied with particular salience. Accordingly, the court held that all parties would bear their own fees and costs. View "Phillips v. Hove, et al." on Justia Law
Posted in: Business Law, Contracts, Corporate Compliance, Delaware Court of Chancery, Intellectual Property, Internet Law, Professional Malpractice & Ethics
Overdrive, Inc. v. Baker & Taylor, Inc.
This lawsuit stemmed from a failed venture between OverDrive, Inc. (OverDrive), a leader in the field of digital media distribution, and Baker & Taylor, Inc. (Baker & Taylor), a leading distributor of physical media, where OverDrive alleged numerous claims against Baker & Taylor contending that Baker & Taylor breached its exclusive distribution agreement with OverDrive and that it was disclosing OverDrive's proprietary trade secrets and confidential information. The court held that OverDrive's conversion, fraud, and "Breach of Contract - Exclusivity and Non-Compete Provisions" claims survived, as did OverDrive's claims for misappropriation of trade secrets and "Breach of Contract - Confidentiality Obligations", which were not challenged in this motion. The court held, however, that all other counts in OverDrive's complaint were dismissed. View "Overdrive, Inc. v. Baker & Taylor, Inc." on Justia Law